Healing and ReconciliationFollowing the nationwide genocide in Rwanda, God has called the Church to bring healing and reconciliation to the nation. This has also been proactively encouraged by the government. Comfort Rwanda & Congo partner with Healing & Reconciliation Ministries, a Christian organisation, to help them encourage unity through repentance and forgiveness across communities in Rwamagana, Kayonza and Kamonyi. Perpetrators, victims, onlookers, those who helped save/hide the persecuted and those who fled as refugees are all encouraged to attend Healing & Reconciliation groups. Many of these individuals are then personally invited to group retreats where they are taught about the biblical basis for repentance and forgiveness and the love of God for all people. Many have come to a point of true repentance and forgiveness and the individuals and communities are becoming free from the past and are starting to recover in a positive way. As a part of the healing and reconciliation process the perpetrators, together with members of the Healing & Reconciliation group, are encouraged to build homes for their victims who would have lost everything during the genocide. This practice provides a practical out-working of the repentance process as well as going a long way towards providing for the physical needs and healing process of the victim.
Comfort Rwanda & Congo helps the ministry by covering the costs of the skilled labour, roof, doors, windows, cement render and foundations of each of the homes at a cost of approximately £1000 per home. In 2012 the Church of Scotland Guild chose to partner with Comfort Rwanda & Congo to support this project (Building a Better Rwanda) over a period of 3 years. The results have been amazing with the expectation that 100 new homes will be built. This building project also makes use of the Ihumure Vocational Training Centre Production Unit for the supply of windows and doors.
Paul Ndahigwa who heads up the Healing & Reconciliation Ministries lost many family members during the genocide; and the suffering of those who had been tortured, raped and mutilated made the message of forgiveness a hard one to preach. “It was a genocide that was quite different” explains Paul. “We had the same culture, language and religion and the killers were often relatives of others who were killed. They killed the pregnant women and ripped out the babies. They took little children and swung them against walls. Not everyone took part but the accusation against those who did not was, ‘what did you do when others were killed? What did you do to prevent it? Did you think it was a game?’ ” But he has found that forgiveness is powerful and freeing and is now passing on the message to many others.
A story of reconciliation "In 1994 we were determined to kill the Tutsis and were appointed by the government to do the work here. We went and found the relatives of this lady and brought them down the mountain and killed them. When I was in prison I heard the gospel and received it. I wanted to receive Jesus as my Saviour but I couldn’t live with my sin. I confessed my crimes and was released from prison. I was ashamed but I came to this woman and asked her forgiveness and she forgave me. We are now together in this group." - Man on the right of the photograph.
“I had a very big family. Some children survived but carry injuries. After the war and the genocide I started to read the Bible. I understood from John 3:16 that God loved me. I realised like Job that we have difficulties but God is love. I decided to forgive this man and I want to show him that I forgive him and embrace him."- Woman on the left of the photograph.